tv Politics Nation With Al Sharpton MSNBC December 18, 2016 5:00am-6:01am PST
or expand your office and take on whatever comes next. find out how american express cards and services can help prepare you for growth at open.com. reacting to russia, vladimir putin's reported meddling in the u.s. election. will president-elect trump acknowledge it? and how will president obama respond? >> we need to take action and we will by the time and place of our own choosing. >> we'll talk to congressman gregory leaks from the foreign affairs committee and former u.n. ambassador bill richardson. plus, the unusual effort to stop trump in the electoral college. fightor the future of the democratic party. and trump's thank you to black voters. >> they didn't come out to vote for hillary. they didn't come out. that was a big -- so thank you to the african-american community. >> new report on voter suppression in 2016, from rockefeller center in new york,
this is "politicsnation" with al sharpton. good morning. i'm al sharpton. we start with a question the united states has never faced before, how to respond to a foreign head of state interfering with a presidential election. top intelligence officials believe that's exactly what russian president vladimir putin did. president obama says he's warned putin that there will be consequences. >> in early september, when i saw president putin in china, i felt that the most effective way to ensure that that didn't happen was to talk to him directly. and tell him to cut it out and there would be serious consequences if he didn't.
>> also a question about what the president-elect would do. during the campaign, donald trump cheered the hacking on. >> by the way, they hacked. they probably have her 33,000 e-mails. russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. i think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. let's see if that happens. that will be next. >> but this week, trump insisted he's not even clear russia was behind the hacking. and his allies spent more time criticizing intelligence leaks about the hacking than in criticizing the hacking itself. >> we should all be very concerned about that because you had a closed door house intelligence committee briefing, and no sooner do people walk out apparently than some folks were talking to the media. at some point it could put all of us at risk.
and for what purpose? to politicize or curry favor with the mainstream media? none of that is worth leaking secrets. >> and yet when it was russia giving secrets to wikileaks about hillary clinton, trump was all for it. >> hillary clinton was sending highly classified information through her maid. just came out. wikileaks. you know, they said about hillary, she's got bad instincts, right. you know who said that? podesta. he didn't know there was a thing called wikileaks, right? i love reading those wikileaks. >> president obama says that u.s. can't let partisan politics take the nation's focus off the hacking. >> this is part of what i meant when i said that we got to think about what is happening it our political culture here. the russians can't change us. or significantly weaken us.
they are a smaller country. they are a weaker country. their economy doesn't produce anything that anybody wants to buy except oil and gas and arms. they don't innovate. but, they can impact us if we lose track of who we are. they can impact us if we abandon our values. >> joining me now is congressman greg meeks, democrat from new york, who serves on the foreign affairs committee, and former ambassador to the united nations and former gernor of new mexico, bill richardson. thank you, both, for being here. >> good being with you. >> thank you. >> congressman, let me go to you first. a lot to get to, but let me ask you first of all, what kinds of responses are available to president obama? >> i think a number. because when you talk about
cybersecurity, we got a lot of things we can't do. and i think that the president on friday spoke of them, that some will be covertly and some will be overtly. there are things i'm sure that president putin does not want to get out. so there can be messages that are sent that way as well as continued additional sanctions on individuals that might have been part of this. it is devastating and hurting their economy even more, that they're not going to get away with what they have done. >> let me ask you the same question, ambassador, because i'm hearing from the congressman there are several ways overt and covert, implied maybe some cyberattacks on our own, and maybe more sanctions. i mean, what do you think is available to the president? >> well, i think the congressman is outlined the basic options that the president has. there can be some sanctions that are maybe not related to
economic sanctions that involve some kind of cybersecurity, some kind of digital sanctions, some kind of effort that perhaps won't be disclosed. but i think what is established here, reverend, is all our agencies agree that there was russia interference. now it is the fbi also. now it is the director of central intelligence. now it's the head of our intelligence, james clapper. so it is unanimous, the only one that doesn't recognize this is president-elect trump. and it is unfortunate that he is now fighting our own intelligence agencies when he is going to be the main customer. our national security team needs to get the best intelligence from 17 of our agencies that can have a budget of $70 billion a year. it is unprecedented that president-elect trump is not listening to them, not getting his briefings, and discounting
them. >> i think we can't sit here on a sunday morning and calmly talk about how this is -- this is outrageous. we're talking about a foreign government having some direct interference with the political leadership of this country, interfering with people's right to vote. as late as friday, trump was still playing politics with all of this, he tweeted, quote, are we talking about the same cyberattack where it was revealed that head of the dnc illegally gave hillary the questions to the debate? i mean, is trump concerned that news of a russian hack could make his victory look less legitimate? why would he be defending or moving away from something that really is a direct threat to the principles that the country is opposed to stand for from a foreign head of state? >> you have hit the nail on the
head. this is an insult and a direct attack at our basic democratic institutions. and to try to cause to be distrust in it and moving forward, talk about elections, also taking place in france, and in germany, to try to cause the western states or the western countries to divide, and that only strengthens putin and he is the president-elect of the united states, it gives me deep concerns about what he will do as president. and then you compound that with his appointment -- his nomination of the secretary of state, mr. tillerson, and what his connections are, is it to give in? on friday, when i was looking at the president talking, i also heard trump talking about he wants to reset this deal with russia. >> but, you know, ambassador,
when president obama was talking on friday, one of the things he said and it is really something that you and i and congressman can remember, we were younger, but we weren't that young, ronald reagan would have had all kinds of conniptions to think that we were in some ways allowing russia to impact on an american election and playing ki of footsie with vladimir putin. i'm talking about ronald reagan, who they all extol as the example of the republican party at a presidential level at his best, ambassador. >> well, you're right, reverend. i mean, i remember, we all remember ronald reagan calling russia the evil empire. and he had many confrontations with them. eventually the two countries coming together. but at the same time, what we
have here is unprecedented. the fact that a foreign power has interfered in our elections and the united states, through its president-elect, is siding with russia. he's not siding with democracy, with the american people, with the electoral process. and i think what we need to remember is what we need to face here and oppose is this interference in our democracy. quite frankly, i don't think it is going to change the electoral outcome, but this is why we need to get to the bottom of it. and this is why president obama was right in saying we're going to take action, and wanting a full investigation. >> will the republicans put pressure on him, congressman meeks, will they put pressure -- >> that's what i was going to say, reverend. this should not be a partisan issue. this is not an assault on democrats, this is on our entire political process. so the same republicans who were
criticizing president obama, saying he wasn't tough enough on russia, they should now step up and make sure -- >> how do you respond to those that have criticized the president saying he should have been tougher before the election? he responded that he acted appropriately. >> i would think he did. the president also showed he did not want to play politics in this. so just like, you know, and me, with the fbi director comey, he came up and so a lot of what he did could be interpreted as playing political games at the time. the president wanted to make sure. he did not want the intelligence information to get out until everything was done and the elections were over, so we could make sure that we're focused on this issue that is fundamentally important to our democracy. and not play politics with it. >> ambassador, many of us have tried hard to get a lot of people to vote. i spent a lot of my life fighting to preserve voting rights and trying to get people to vote. in ways that were sometimes
favoring people and in this election totally nonpartisan, protecting the right to vote, on top of that now, we have to convince people in -- when we're looking at foreign heads of states, influencing votes, allegations about law enforcement, leaking things at certain times, i mean this really is something that is atrocious when you think about how we are dealing with the fight the right to vote, and trying to get people to have confidence in our voting system. >> well, reverend, first of all, your efforts on voting rights has been great. and for the whole country not just for any democratic party or any group. but i think what is fundamental here is the importance of the electoral democratic process and the fact that a foreign government has interfered deserves a response, a strong
response from the united states. and it should also include the president-elect and that's uncertain because of the cozy ties of his appointees and his own cozy ties with russia. >> all right, we're going to have to leave it there. congressman greg meeks and ambassador bill richardson, thank you for your time. >> good being with you. next, the long shot fight to stop trump. i'll talk to a man leading the charge, trying to convince electoral college voters to shock the world tomorrow. also, democrats make a new effort to figure out why clinton lost. and a potential new party leader steps forward. stay with us.
the electoral college is genius. it is genius. >> donald trump says the electoral college is a system that is genius. but tomorrow there is a small chance he'll be singing a different tune. the nation's 538 electors will meet in all 50 states to cast their votes. and there is an unusual effort to use those votes to stop trump from becoming president. some are citing legal arguments, they say that freeze them from voting for trump. democratic reasons citing hillary clinton's historic popular vote margin, now at 2.8 million. it might be a long shot, but the push includes at least one republican elector.
>> my name is christopher supra i supran. a loyal republican and i'm not voting for donald trump because i don't think he is the right man for the job. >> there is also a group calling themselves the hamilton electors, named after alexander hamilton. they say the founding fathers intended that the electoral college can, quote, stop an unfit man from becoming president. and they say they want to do that tomorrow. at his news conference on friday, president obama admitted the system can hurt democrats, but suggested they just have to work harder to win. >> the electoral college is a vestige, a carry over from an earlier vision of how our
federal government was going to work that put a lot of premium on states. the same type of thing that gives wyoming two senators and with about half a million people and california with 33 million get the same two. >> joining me now is an organizer of the hamilton electors, brett shafolo, an elector from washington state. he signed an on letter published in cities across the country, trying to turn up the heat on electors. thank you for being here this morning, brett. >> thank you for having me, reverend sharpton. now, tell me about what you're really trying to do tomorrow. >> well, what we're really trying to do is encourage and support any republican electors who want to put country before party and vote for a unity republican candidate and not for donald trump. >> now, you need 37 republican
electors to abandon trump. have any of them told you that they will do this? i mean, how realistic is this in terms of counting heads of electors? >> well, when i started this on november 9th with one other elector, we had no chance really. since then we had hundreds of conversations with a wide range of republican electors and democratic electors and we believe that there is a real chance of this happening right now. lawrence lessig on a recent msnbc spot believes he said there is 20 or more, 20 up to 30. we're not giving out numbers yet, but we think it is a real possibility at this point. >> if lawrence is right, about 30 -- 20 to 30, and you need 37, there is a shot, but you're not giving numbers, we're just speculating. >> well, yes. we had many confidential conversations with republican electors, and tha has been one of the keys to us being able to
have ongoing conversations is we keep it to ourselves. but i can tell you there has probably been 50 to 60 republican electors i've spoken to who have serious grave concerns about donald trump. >> what about critics that say it is just sour grapes, you're angry you lost, maybe you with other republican candidates, how do you answer the critics? >> well, i can tell you that since before the election i had said i may not be voting for our state's winner, to bring attention to the electoral college. and as soon as i saw that donald trump had won, given what the hamilton has said in federalist 68, it was made clear to me instantly that as americans and people who believe in the constitution we have no choice but to try to stop donald trump from becoming president through completely legal and moral ways. >> now, the electoral college has become much more of a partisan issue, and 2012, majorities in both parties favored electing the president
by popular vote, but after the 2016 election support among democrats climbed to 81%. among republicans it sunk to 19%. is this because people know it definitely favors one party over another in your judgment, brett? >> yes, i do think that's a big part of it. the two party system that has come to be common in the american system was not expected by the founding fathers. and because of that, the true nature of the electoral college has been covered in dust for hundreds of years. but the fact is the constitution has not changed in what it says about presidential elections. it still does not mention popular vote at all in there. and leaves the election up to at this point 538 people, regardless of what i think after the 19th, about whether the electoral college should stay or not, it is the law of the land now. >> well, a lot of people are going to be watching, a lot of
people felt that there should have been followed up in 2000. bret, thanks for your time. and a reminder that the national action network will hold the we shall not be moved march on january 14th in washington, during martin luther king jr. weekend. this is a direct action to urge president-elect trump and the congress, particularly, that they must protect our civil and human rights and the right to vote. we must continue to fight for economic justice. voting rights, health care, police reform, and much, much more. we cannot sit this one out. we must protect the dream of dr. king. next, after president obama, inside the democratic fight to define the party for the future. and a new report on voting problems in 2016 could help explain the results.
the question is how do we rebuild that party as a whole so that there is not a county in any state, i don't care how red, where we don't have a presence and we're not making the argument, because i think we have the better argument. >> president obama asking how do democrats rebuild? it is something many in the party are asking. and it is related to another question. how did hillary clinton lose? political reports quote her wealthy backers who helped pump over a billion into her losing effort and want answers. this week, clinton told donors the fbi director's letter about her e-mails hurt her and so did the russian hacking plot. >> nate silver believes, i happen to believe this, that
that letter most likely made the difference in the outcome, but we're also learning every day about the unprecedented russian plot to swing this election. >> at the same time, new potential democratic leaders are stepping forward. this week labor secretary tom perez jumped into the race for dnc chairman. in the primary, he supported hillary clinton. another man who wants the job, congressman keith ellison, a progressive who supported bernie sanders. democratic senator joe manchin says he's not happy with either choice. >> i would like another choice, absolutely. and i think basically, speaking from a rural democrat, from a rural state, getting our brains beat in because washington doesn't listen to urks the democr us, the democrats in washington don't speak for us, it is hard for them to represent us. joining me now is beth fee,
senior editor for politics at nbc news and msnbc, and republican strategist susan del percio. thank you for being here, first of all. >> thank you for having us. >> let me ask you first, do clinton and obama have different views about why she lost and what the party needs to do next? >> well, i think president obama in his news conference was careful and shows his words carefully about assigning blame, resisting efforts to -- some of the questions he received to, you know, go toward the russian hacking or in any particular direction on why she lost. he said he didn't feel that she had been treated fairly by the media, he was very comfortable bashing the media. in every other way, he said i'm going to let the history decide, the voters have spoken, and so on. hillary clinton we heard that sound from her, she does believe that the russia hack made a big difference and the comey letter made a big difference. we don't know. it was such a close race, 70,000
votes in three states. could have been any number of things. the fact is she lost to somebody who -- a large majority of, you know, the pundit class, the politicians in washington, thought had no chance. so how she managed to lose or snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory is something that that party and the hillary clinton campaign needs to deconstruct and figure out. >> one thing that came up, susan, is president obama says he hasn't been able to transfer his campaign model to other candidates. listen how he put it. >> been something i've been able to do successfully in my own campaigns. it is not something i've been able to transfer to candidates and midterms and sort of build a sustaining organization around. that's something that i -- i
would have liked to have done more of. >> now, can president obama, susan, play a role in this after he leaves office, and is that something that the republicans feel? >> i don't think republicans fear that. whoever is running against donald trump or whoever in 2020, that could -- his coalition can be important, but let's not lose sight of -- it was president obama's coalition. it was brought in at a time of change. he brought people in because he represented a different type of vision for washington. and he was very successful. it didn't transfer because he never tried to change that image to make it transferrable. so this is his, he owns it. they certainly try to get as many votes out of him as they could. but the clinton campaign, that is, because he was campaigning like crazy. but you have to earn people's votes. he worked hard to earn and
create that coalition. you can't ask the -- >> when you say he owned it, is it also that you can't make a change candidate out of hillary clinton because of a long record of being part of washington, and bernie sanders, bill de blasio, mayor of new york, says his message won. >> and certainly bernie sanders gave her a much bigger chase and much bigger scare than she expected out of him. that should have been a big warning sign to democrats that she was vulnerable. what i want to say based on what you just said about the change versus the same, the interesting thing about president obama, he was not the change candidate in 2012, obviously. he was the incumbent. but he managed to get re-elected because his -- he and his team, you know, demonized mitt romney as the candidate who was going to crush the little guy and had as a businessman had done things to his -- to people who worked for him that kept their wages low and so forth. that -- hillary clinton campaign had ample opportunity to do that
with donald trump whose record in business and record of not paying people, and paying them pennies on the dollar, people who had worked for him as contractors, there were so much material there and yet hillary clinton and her team didn't go that direction. so the way that president obama won in 2012, he wasn't a change candidate, hillary clinton maybe could have tried that in 2016 and she didn't. >> i personally think that president obama was nice to mitt roey if you compare what donald trump did to him in the primaries of 2016. but, beth and susan, stay with me. more ahead. coming up, trump's business interests have caught the interests of democrats in congress. they're promising to hold his feet to the fire on his potential conflicts. to do the best
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what i do appear to care about are the grave conflicts of interest that are interwoven throughout president-elect trump's entire global corporate enterprise. >> donald trump's potential business conflicts are putting him in conflict with democrats. the house calls for investigations. in the senate, elizabeth warren and others are promising legislation, forcing trump to divest from his businesses. might set off a struggle. reportedly trump doesn't want to divest. although his exact plan is unclear. he had promised a news conference to explain things, but he canceled it, saying he'll give some answers next month. one event he didn't cancel this week, a meeting at trump tower with tech industry leaders. with three of his kids in
attendance, including eric trump, and donald trump jr., who he says will run his businesses. i'm back with beth and susan. susan, now we're learning trump may want to keep ownership in his businesses. but not run them. is that a realistic solution? >> well, the -- president-elect is going to be very busy being president. so he's obviously going to are to decide what his priorities are. what i'm more concerned about right now is that we still haven't seen his tax returns. and his children -- his adult children are going to play such a role in the administration, even if as an unofficial adviser and not take money, we should see what their tax returns look like because we need that transparency to at least know that if he's not going to divest himself of the business, what are the potential conflicts, which we still don't know. >> just about every day, beth, i mean, literally every day, you
have a potential issue that crops up like the charity auction to have coffee with ivanka trump, npr writes, it raises question about the ethical implications of selling off facetime with the future first family, especially given ivanka trump's perceived influence over her father. now, the offer has been canceled. but isn't this the problem, until trump clears things up, the potential conflicts are everywhere. >> that, you know, having coffee with somebody for a charity that sounds like a great idea if you're a private citizen, of course, ivanka trump even before this election was a fairly well known woman around new york and minor celebrity. but she -- what i don't understand is why she and her brothers don't understand that everything has changed. something she could have done a year ago for a charity that helped sick children which is what this was, she can't do that now. it is a different game and people who are going to buy
access to her are buying access to her now because she's the daughter of the future president, not because she's an interesting woman who would be fun to have coffee with for $60,000 for a charity. they seem very slow to grasp that everything has changed, that we sitting in on a meeting with tech executives as the children of the incoming president, and as business people, that's a totally different game than if they were just doing that back when he was simply a real estate mogul. they are very slow to embrace the vast differee in their lives now that he's in the situation. >> the republican head of the oversight committee, susan, has resisted democratic calls to investigate trump's conflicts. here's what he said after the election. >> give him a chance. he hasn't been sworn in yet. so it is pretty hard to criticize him or suggest that there should be an investigation by congress when the guy hasn't even been sworn in yet. >> now, can republicans stick to this or are they going to have
to bow to pressure on these issues? >> it is going to depend on what he says in january. as you mentioned earlier,e's going to give some kind of press conference explaining what he's going to -- >> i said he said -- >> he said, correct. >> he said he was going to -- >> you are absolutely right. so he said he was -- right now the campaign has announced plans to make an announcement regarding that. it depends what he says. and, again, i think republicans are going to have to be very careful on the line that they walk on this issue. because people will start demanding to know what those conflicts of interest are if it is hidden. he says he's being transparent by talking about it. but until we know what the conflicts can possibly be, which will, again, going back to the tax returns, that's what they have to ask -- >> how will this play out for the democrats? they seem to feel they have a winning issue here. >> well, i mean, they only do if they can convince voters to
understand why this is a problem. like, we have seen some polling that has come out since the election and in evaluating the trump coming into office, his businesses and the fact that his kids are going to run the businesses just isn't ranking very high on people's concerns. they brought him in, they knew who he was, knew all about him, know he's this big real estate mogul with holdings all over the world, that was part of the attraction to him, he's this successful guy that gets it done and makes a lot of money. they have to figure out a message to voters to explain to them why sthey should care. >> beth, ri have to hold it there. susan, thank you for your time this morning. ahead, a new report on the impact that voting i.d. laws had on the election in 2016. what can be done about it?
education, talk about no jobs. and i say, what the hell do you have to lose, right? it is true. and they're smart and they picked up on it like you wouldn't believe. and you know what else? they didn't come out to vote for hillary. they didn't come out. and that was a big -- so thank you to the african-american community. >> that was donald trump this week praising african-americans for staying away from the polls. but the truth is, they didn't all stay away voluntarily. six weeks after the election, we're learning about anoer factor. voter suppression. a new study shows voting restrictions disproportionately impacted nonwhite and young voters. some key results, 31% of americans polled couldn't get time off work to vote. that includes 41% of blacks, and
34% of hispanics. overall, hispanic voters had longer wait times than white voters. and they were more likely to have their eligibility questioned. look at this. nearly half of hispanic and black voters who were eligible to vote say they weren't able to. the poll is troubling, it shows the impact of new voter i.d. laws and what the gutting of the voting rights act has done on the 2016 election. so what can be done about it? joining me is kristen clark, president and executive director of the lawyers committee for civil rights. what is your response to this study? are you surprised at their findings? >> i'm not surprised. the lawyers committee for civil rights under law leads the election protection program, which is the nation's largest nonpartisan voter protection
program. we heard from voters across the country. this election cycle. more than 117,000 voters in fact. and there were some patterns that emerged. voter suppression was most certainly a culprit in the 2016 election cycle. we heard from countless numbers of voters who encountered barriers meeting photo burdensome photo i.d. requirements in some states. >> a federal appeals court upheld virginia's voter i.d. law that requires people to show photo i.d. before they can vote. the head of the virginia aclu said the decision, quote, discounts the reality of the hardships that voters with disabilities encounters and ignores that many other vulnerable groups of people lack i.d. or the means to obtain them. what kind of impact will this
have on other cases since you brought up voter i.d. and we got this ruling tuesday. >> it is a bad and unfortunate ruling. photo i.d. requirements are a threat to democracy. there is countless study after study that shows that there are disproportionate numbers of poor people, elderly people, students, african-americans, and latinos, who don't drive and are without driver's linses. and will encounter more burdens getting access to strict government issued i.d. i'm disappointed by the ruling in virginia, but encouraged by the recent ruling in texas, finding that that law was discriminatory in its effect on minority voters. now is the time to watch what is happening around the country and to push back on any effort to throw up barriers to democracy. if there is one lesson that
emerges from the 2016 election cycle, it is that all eligible americans deserve to cast a ballot that will count. and we need to fight back against efforts to erect barriers that stand in their way. >> there are other fights brewing in 2017, following the election. states like arkansas and michigan introduced strict voter i.d. laws. and you mentioned texas. texas is asking the supreme court to reinstate a voter i.d. law, ruled unconstitutional by a federal court. so will we see other states more emboldened to pass restctive laws in 2017 in. >> we could. we have a president-elect who has made a statement suggesting that there were millions of people who cast votes unlawfully. we know -- >> with no evidence of that. >> no evidence. no data to back it up. what states need to do right now is take a step back, remove the barriers that stand in the way
of eligible citizens who want to cast a vote and have a voice in our democracy. we need congress to do some work to restore the voting rights act, which was -- >> at least come with that map that could answer the section 5 decision from the supreme court. but i'm going to have to leave it there, kristen clark, thank you for your time. >> thank you for having me. >> ahead, dylann roof verdict driven by hate to kill nine people at mother emanuel. my thoughts next. ♪ ♪ see ya next year. this season, start a new tradition. experience the power of infiniti now, with leases starting at $319 a month.
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talked to a local newspaper about how she felt. >> happy that this part is over. happy that my mom and everybody who is in heaven knew that we were down here fighting for em. so i feel in my heart they're all in heaven, doing a happy dance. >> i had the honor of participating in the funerals for ethel lance as well as th sharonda coleman singleton. charleston didn't happen in a vacuum. hate is linked to hate. tragedy is linked to tragedy. just a few months earlier, in charleston, i attended a vigil at the shooting site of walter
scott, the unarmed man who was killed by a police officer as he was running away. also at that vigil, reverend clementa pinckney. you see him highlighted there. two months later, pinckney was gunned down as pastor at mother emanuel church. and president obama sang amazing grace at his funeral. hate is prevailing around many places. even in the 21st century. this was a young man, this wasn't an old man. hate is still abound in some places. we cannot regulate love. we can't make people love everybody. but we can have a society of laws that will firmly and equally protect everyone against hate and that's what that verdict meant and that's what we must fight for, to regulate behavior by law, if we can't teach people love with a moral
great being with you this morning. i'm frances rivera. it is 9:00 a.m. in the east. 6:00 a.m. out west. and here's what's happening. >> we have done everything else the opposite. >> the opposite, donald trump at his latest rally talking about how he might approach the presidency. we'll get reaction and newoll numbers on how america views his transition moves so far. co the final word on the 2016 election comes tomorrow, that's when the electoral college votes. but could anything change the expected outcome? and big